Tomorrow night's the night. Seattle Opera 2013 Ring officially begins with Das Rheingold. For various reasons, I won't be there, but the rehearsals, even before they were open to the public, were so polished that to all intents and purposes, I feel I've seen the show in all its glory already.
And while it's superfluous to list all the reasons it's worth seeing, there are so many of those reasons that I can't help but list a handful. Wendy Bryn Harmer's golden-voiced Freia is one of them. So are Dennis Petersen's scene-stealing Mime – just wait till we get to Siegfried – and Markus Brück's properly thunderous Donner. Daniel Sumegi and Andrea Silvestrelli have both height and voice to burn as the giants, and speaking of burning...Mark Schowalter deftly sets the stage for all the fire to come. There's Richard Paul Fink's incredibly athletic (he does a backflip!) Alberich, Stephanie Blythe's incandescent Fricka and then of course there's Greer Grimsley, whose fangirl I most definitely am. He doesn't even need to sing now: I tear up the moment he's on stage, and then he does sing and, well, you get the drift.
That's not even everybody but you can go ahead and trust me that everyone in this Rheingold is yet another reason why it works so well. As is the realist magic, if I can call it that, of Stephen Wadsworth's production. You want an actual, walkable rainbow bridge? You've got it. A dark and spooky Nibelheim where Alberich disappears and materialises at will? Done. The giants are genuinely giant, there's real castle taking shape in the sky and never were Anna Russell's words about the first scene truer: it really does begin in the Rhein. IN IT. More magical still, in a very earthbound way, are the relationships it establishes among the gods, and between the gods and the mortal world. It's extraordinarily full of detail and foreshadowing – and when I last saw it, I'd not yet seen Siegfried and Götterdämmerung. I'm sure a second visit would reveal even more riches.
Enough words from me. All I'll add is a huge, huge toi toi toi to absolutely everybody for tomorrow night – and this trailer from Seattle Opera, which ought to give you a better idea than anything I can say of just how enchanted this Ring really is.